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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Getting back to the original question:

I don't think you can lump the decade all together. To me, the decade starts off great with 3 solid years from 1980-1982, marked by Brent's growing vocal and instrumental contributions, and some terrific overall band jamming with precision thrown in, as in this Scarlet>Fire from 1982:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd82-09-11.sbd.clugston.2192.sbeok.shnf

IMO, there is then an immense drop-off in quality, mostly due to Jerry's declining health/drug use, from roughly 1983-1988. Yes, there are exceptions, including the stunning shows in Augusta, Maine in October of 1984 (2nd set in this show is among the best ever played):

http://www.archive.org/details/gd84-10-12.sbd.clugston.5585.sbeok.shnf

, but it's pretty tough to listen to Jerry's creaky vocals and a whole lot of sloppy, choppy play in the middle 80's.

Then at the end of the decade, a grand resurgence can clearly be heard from 1989-1990, perhaps best exemplified by any of the shows at Alpine Valley, including this one w/a sublime Sugar Mag>Scarlet transition and an overall sense of renewed purpose and professionalism in the playing:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd89-07-18.sbd.9854.sbeok.shnf

Still, the 80's can't hold a candle to the 70's, and 1977 makes everything else look pale by comparison ;-)